More families switch to homeschooling amid pandemic

In numerous ways, the pandemic has changed the way kids learn. For many, it’s also meant a shift to homeschooling or online academies.

Last school year, homeschool families jumped from 5 percent to 11 percent, according to the U.S. Census.

FOX 9 caught up with one family of three young boys and two working parents who learned that they can make homeschooling work.

"I've always worked and I love what I do, but I had no idea how much I've missed with our kids," said Keri Burton, mother of three. 

Keri and her husband found a lot of homeschooling support groups to show how it's done, as well as online classes for those subjects they can't teach.

"Our kids did Spanish immersion, so we're still able to do Spanish tutoring with native speakers one-on-one and go through reading and writing with our kids. In many ways it's the same Spanish curriculum they would have."

Ellen Crain with the Minnesota Homeschoolers Facebook page said more people have come around to homeschooling as things become more accessible online.

"Homeschooling has definitely become less intimidating because of the internet. We all have a lot more access to resources so it's a lot less intimidating to start," she said.

Crain started the Facebook page with a friend about seven years ago, and it's jumped to more than 7,000 followers since the pandemic began.

"We started it because the way people start homeschooling is they learn from people who already are. That's how everyone learns to homeschool."

Families looking for alternatives - but not ready for homeschooling - have also flocked to public schools that are online.

Cyber Village Academy in St. Paul started 24 years ago with online options and a small following. They now have a much larger base and offer in-person, hybrid and 100 percent online public schooling.

Nicole Rasmussen, Cyber Village Academy Director, said she sees this becoming more of a norm. She said individuals just need to think about what works best for their family.

Resources on homeschooling and alternatives

Facebook groups:

  • Working Homeschool Mom Club
  • Homeschool Minnesota Discussion Group
  • Homeschooling Middle & High School

Websites on homeschooling: